Re: In lack of a good window manager

From: J.O. Aho (
Date: 11/29/03

Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003 22:54:25 +0100

Tomas Wilhelmsson wrote:
> I have to go here to see what i can lurk out of people about what they
> thik about KDE and GNOME, i have a hard time finding something that fit
> me, and ive been looking over KDE alot and it seems like a very neat
> "little" manager, but then ... there are always people who dont like and
> like software, and from most parts ive heard is that "KDE has more bugs
> then all the windows buggs put together" and "like windows kde and gnome"
> ..
> putting windows kde and gnome in the same line sounds a bit stupid to
> me but might be true, they are all "conquer" trying to rule the market,
> all tho .. it does not realy exist for linux :P
> But if i could get info from people that has been using both gnome and kde
> or just one of them and they could tell me what they think, what they
> dislike and what they realy like with them..

I have used both KDE and Gnome, sadly Gnome aren't anymore developed.

When I first begun to use unix, I used twm for a while, untill I one day
wanted to customize my environment on the university system and started to use
ctwm. It's far from both Gnome and KDE, but I got a liking for the simple.

After a long time with Amiga, I did get me a x86 machine, running the
microsoft product, but after a number reinstalls and bluescreens, I got borde
of that and tried out linux, I did pick Redhat, which in those days came with
Gnome as the default desktop.

Gnome has the benefit of being quite fast, and gives the users quite free
hands to do what they want and choose what ever windowsmanager for it. I did
like the default one, which is sawfish, has the ability to remember windows
placements for applications, and do let you have different themes for
different programs too. The Gnome controll gives you the possibility to tweak
all the settings and it's easy to tweak the config files fro Gnome and the
applications by hand too as they are plain text. If there was somethign you
didn't like with the default tools, you could quite easilly find 3rd party
applications to replace things, eg nautilus could be replaced with rox.
With antialias enable gtk+ or with gdkxft you get quite impressive looking Gnome.

KDE on the otherhand is a lot slower, but applications are a lot more
integrated with eachother, which makes the sharing of data between
applications a lot easier. I don't like the kwim which is the default window
manager in KDE, it's quite stupid, don't want to remember window placements,
and if it remembers, it easilly mixes the the windows and can give a window
another windows placements and dimentions. Using other windowmanagers seems to
interfear with the systemtray (the icons do not appear in it, but somewhere
else as windows). KDE has less usefull applets compared to Gnome IMHO, the
kweather gives quite poor info in the applet icon (of course you can increase
the data, but then it takes twice the space) and you can only have one
instance of it (whiel gweather allows you to see the weather symbol and the
temperature, takes quite little space and you can have as many places
monitored as you which). KDE of nowdays does support Antialias, which makes it
to look quite good too, but a bit limited amount of good themese IMHO (haven't
found any yet).

Oh, almost forgot, Gnome2, have used that, I have critsized it so much that I
have been called Troll by the Gnome2-devels, I have used it so much that I
have made my own opinion about it. It has been all to much inspired by MacOS,
placements of the buttons (ok/cancle/help) has been placed in the wrong order
(if you ask why, they just point at the Gnome2-HIG, but they can't explain
why, I guess it's the head of Gnome2 that has decided that it should be like
so, for thats how it's on his Mac), it's quite anoying to get up a help help
window when you are pressing where the ok-button was supposed to be (I do use
other operatingsystems, none of them have the backward order of Gnome2). The
possibility to configure your Gnome2 is really limited, this according to
people in the Gnome2-devel-group "for not confuse users with many options", of
course you can do "windows register hacking" which is something Gnome2 has
got, and it slows down the system down after a while like the register in a
microsoft windows machine does after you have installed/uninstalled enough
times, as the register isn't cleaned. Editing settigns by hand is quite
difficult, if you aren't a master on using xml. I won't even mention the
themes more than most of them are Macish. Default windowmanager, metacity,
it's really limited and unusefull, I think even Microsoft Windows 1.01 has a
better one. Somehow Genome2 tend to be quite unfriendly to other
windowmanagers than the default (seen many who have had problems to pick the
one they want to have as default, even if they have done the register hacking
that is requiered).

So if I would have to order the desktop environments, with the best first, it
would be:

KDE 3.x
KDE 2.x
KDE 1.x
KDE 0.x

I can say that at the moment I'm using KDE3.1, as Gentoo don't really want to
support Gnome and causes only trouble if selectign Gnome over Gnome2.